Case Closed in NHTSA Tesla Model S Fire Investigation

8 months ago by Eric Loveday 17

Model S Fire Investigation Now in "Case Closed" Status

Model S Fire Investigation Now in “Case Closed” Status

The NHTSA has officially closed it Tesla Model S safety investigation.

This Tesla Model S Fire Is No Longer Under NHTSA Investigation

This Tesla Model S Fire Is No Longer Under NHTSA Investigation

This effectively clears the Model S in relation to two previous on-road fires in the US.

The closing of this NHTSA investigation is fully tied to Tesla adding titanium underbody shields and aluminum deflectors to the Model S, which decrease the likelihood of such an event recurring.

“Tesla’s revision of the vehicle ride height and addition of increased underbody protection should reduce the frequency of underbody strikes and the resultant fire risk.” – NHTSA

By adding the extra protection, Tesla likely convinced the NHTSA that the Model S is as safe as possible, or at least as safe as can be reasonably expected of any vehicle on the road today.

Per the NHTSA:

“…the closing of the investigation does not constitute a finding by the agency that a safety-related defect does not exist.   And the agency reserves the right to take further actions if warranted by new circumstances.”

Translation?  Case closed provided that no new incidents occur.

Note Case Closed as of March 26, 2014

Note Case Closed as of March 26, 2014

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17 responses to "Case Closed in NHTSA Tesla Model S Fire Investigation"

  1. IDK says:

    Elon Musk Posted These Fascinating GIFs To Demonstrate Tesla’s New Titanium Shield.

  2. CherylG says:

    Kudos to NHTSA for taking the steps necessary to get Tesla to acknowledge and correct the problem.

    1. Anon says:

      Even Spaceships need Deflector Shields. ;)

    2. Mark Hanson says:

      They found no trend and required no action of Tesla.
      There is no recall.
      They did comment that the steps Tesla did take will lessen the odds of this happening even further.
      Hopefully they will hold ICE vehicles to the same standards in the future.

    3. John Hansen says:

      Cheryl is a known troll on this site. Ignore her.

    4. MDEV says:

      CherylG you forgot your rhetoric of the $600 mandatory, warranty by Tesla. Please don’t be sad we all knew the investigation will be closed with NO recall.

    5. TomArt says:

      Nothing wrong with an investigation. Glad to see Tesla took the necessary steps to alleviate the situation.

  3. Jouni Valkonen says:

    Very good move from Tesla to admit that S needed better protection and did the correct actions. This is what learning and pushing the boundaries of technology is!

    1. Mark H says:

      I agree. The fact that 3 fires occurred over the first 130,000,000 miles show that there is potential for it to happen and Tesla has implemented a design improvement in less than six months that is made available for all existing customers that want it.
      Unfortunately for all drivers of regular internal combustion engines, fires are still occurring at a rate of 70-90/billion miles of which 20-30/billion miles are caused by collisions.
      Also worth noting that zero Volt/LEAF/Toyota/Ford fires have occurred due to accidents/charging/etc. in the wild. Zero. That just can’t be said enough.

      1. George Parrott says:

        As the previous owner of VIN #679 Volt and VIN #320 Leaf, and now garaging both a 2013 Model S and a 2014 Volt….one explanation of the lack of such disasters with even the Volt and certainly the Leaf is that they are more likely to be used in shorter/slower speed commuting and city driving. Yes, the Volt can be a total go-to car, but many Volt drivers are reporting mpg values well over 150 mpg which clearly suggests many short trips and few, if any, longer gas-driven and higher speed excursions.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “Yes, the Volt can be a total go-to car, but many Volt drivers are reporting mpg values well over 150 mpg which clearly suggests many short trips and few, if any, longer gas-driven and higher speed excursions.”

          What does this having anything to do with it?

          The amount of road debris or accidents induced fire has NOTHING to do with short or long trips. It has to do with how many miles of hwy driving you have.

          In order to have 100K miles, you have to do some major hwy driving and Volt already has that. Plenty of Volts involved in severe crashes and none of them caught fire.

          The fact is that due to the different design in battery size, form/factor and chemistry, the risks are NOT equal. But we should NOT take that away from Volt/LEAF/Energi/Prius modeles for what they have accomplished so far.

          It seems that Tesla fans like to “push” other down while praising the Model S.

  4. Dave R says:

    This explains why firmware 5.9 started rolling out which brought in customizable speed for going into the low suspension setting (including always running low).

    Anyway, good on Tesla!

  5. David Stone says:

    Now all they have to do is hold all the other car companies to the same safety standard and be completely rid of vehicle fires that kill even without being in any type of accident whatsoever.

    Yeah, right…

    1. Douglas says:

      No, that would require the regulators and Faux News to hold the ICE vehicles to the same safety standards they subjectively apply to Tesla. For the Feds to get on Tesla’s case about the fires, while ignoring the ICE vehicle fires that occur with much greater frequency is boggling.

      1. TomArt says:

        Since non-EVs run on highly flammable liquids, they really can’t. Even with additional armor on the tank, the fuel lines are still the Achilles’ Heel.

  6. Big Solar says:

    Titanium, very spensive!

    1. TomArt says:

      True, but it would be an alloy (most titanium alloys are actually a majority aluminum by atomic %), and not a large component.